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Environment
7:00 am
Mon June 4, 2012

State Funding For Black Fly and West Nile Virus Control Programs Could Face Cuts

The state's black fly and West Nile virus control programs will soon kick into full swing and, despite a cut of about 3% in the proposed budgets of Governor Corbett and Senate lawmakers, officials say it will be as robust as ever.

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spokeswoman Amanda Witman said the loss of about $2,000 will be covered by cost efficiencies that have been developed.

"[The mosquito monitoring and spraying] program will still conduct the same amount of surveillance and maintain its staffing levels," Witman said.

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Local
7:00 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Sandusky Trial Could Be Precedent For New Twitter Rule In Courtrooms

The state court system is using the upcoming Jerry Sandusky trial to set a new rule for how reporters utilize Twitter from the courtroom. The move comes ahead of Tuesday's jury selection and the child sex abuse trial of the former Penn State defensive coordinator.

Reporters covering jury selection and the trial can tweet from the courtroom, as long as they do not record anything word-for-word. Pennsylvania court system spokesman Jim Koval said the rule is intended to comply with court rules that ban such verbatim transmissions.

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Economy
8:30 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

May Tax Revenue Lower than Expected in Pennsylvania

Tax revenue collections in Pennsylvania for last month came in lower than expected. The commonwealth's revenue is now 1.3% below estimates.

The latest report bolsters arguments from Republican lawmakers that they shouldn't rush to increase funding over preliminary state budget proposals just because revenue collections in March and April came in strong.

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Local
8:20 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Home Defenders League Demands Action on Housing Crisis

Local homeowners and renters will join an organizing campaign taking place to recruit new members, register homeowners to vote, and hold rallies and house parties. A similar effort is taking place at 21 other locations in 16 states.

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Health
7:17 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

New Requirement to Make it Easier to Understand Insurance Policies

Starting in September health care insurers will be required to write their policies in plain language. Currently,the policy descriptions sent to customers by insurance companies tend to be long and difficult to figure out. The Summary of Benefits and Coverage, which is required by The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, changes that.

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Environment
7:06 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Pennsylvania Game Commission Looking for “Bat Watchers”

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is looking for volunteers to sit outside, enjoy the summer nights, and count bats. Biologists with the Game Commission will be compiling data on bat maternity colonies in the state and are now accepting applications to join the Appalachian Bat Count Monitoring Team.

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Environment
6:15 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Pennsylvania to Help Clean Up the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Pennsylvania isn't exactly leading the pack of the six states and Washington, D.C. in plans for reducing pollution to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. However, the state's plan for bringing down waste water pollution has been upgraded per the Environment Protection Agency's (EPA) estimation.

A separate plan for minimizing agricultural runoff is getting some amount of scrutiny from the federal government, but the proposal to cut nearly half of urban and suburban storm water pollution is being called overly ambitious.

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Local
6:00 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

The Johnstown Flood National Memorial Receives National Parks Grant

The Johnstown Flood National Memorial has been selected as a recipient of the National Park Foundation's America's Best Idea Grant. The park joins 48 other parks across the country selected to participate in the 2012 program.

The $15,000 grant will go to a program that connects young people to the parks and historic sites throughout the region. Megan O'Malley, Chief of Interpretation at The Johnstown Flood National Memorial, said they will be offering several events.

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Science & Technology
8:30 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Pittsburgh Chosen for Science Pilot Program

Pittsburgh was chosen over about ten other cities in a search for a pilot program organized by two departments of the National Academies. The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering are teaming up on the project and will begin the "Science and Engineering Ambassador Program" in the fall.

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Government
8:20 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Republican Lawmakers To Propose Joint Spending Plan Next Week

Republican lawmakers in the Pennsylvania state legislature are meeting with Governor Tom Corbett early next week to present a joint spending plan with the intention of passing a budget in mid-June. Procedurally, it falls to the state House to make changes to the Senate's $27.7 billion budget plan, which contains a half-million dollars more than what the governor proposed.

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Local
8:15 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Jazz, Art to Fill Downtown

Pittsburgh's Cultural District is home to too many an arts festival, and this year two of them are filling the same weekend. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Three Rivers Arts Festival and Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival (PJLIF) will be in full force beginning Friday in downtown Pittsburgh.

Derek Scalzott, spokesman for the Three Rivers Arts Festival, said the 53rd annual event has changed throughout its life, but it has also stayed the same in many ways.

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Local
5:40 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

The Pittsburgh Promise Kicks Off Two Week Graduation Celebration

A pep rally this morning at Pittsburgh's CAPA School kicked off a day of volunteering for Pittsburgh Promise recipients. The recent college graduates are spending Thursday and Friday in service projects to show their appreciation for the scholarship funds.

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Health
5:35 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Allegheny General Hospital Launches Robotic-Assisted Heart Surgery Program

In March, an Allegheny General Hospital patient became the first there to undergo robotically-assisted minimally invasive coronary bypass surgery. The procedure is thought to be less traumatic to the body and allows for faster recovery times for patients.

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Local
4:59 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Zippo Hits 500 Million

An American icon that calls Pennsylvania home will celebrate a major milestone next week. The Zippo manufacturing Company in Bradford Pennsylvania will produce its 500 millionth lighter Tuesday.

George Blaisdell was inspired to build the now famous windproof lighter after unsuccessfully trying to light his friends' cigars following a round of golf in 1932. He quickly set to work and created the windproof lighter in a workroom over his garage. That first lighter sits in the company's museum in Bradford.

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Arts
8:15 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Preservation Program Would Expand, Coordinate Pittsburgh Historic Designations

Many of Pittsburgh's most notable historic landmarks, like the Fort Pitt Blockhouse and the Cathedral of Learning, are already protected by the Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh. The city has also designated twelve neighborhoods as historic districts, in which the area's aesthetics are strictly controlled.

However, a new plan from the Department of City Planning aims to expand the city's protection of its historic assets. Under the PRESERVEPGH outline, Pittsburgh would coordinate citywide historic preservation for the first time in its history.

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Local
7:20 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Legislation Would Change Pension System for New State Employees

Under a new bill proposed by Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester County), new state employees would get a defined contribution retirement plan, similar to a 401(k), rather than the current defined benefit plan.

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Local
7:18 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Judge Says 'No' on Sandusky Trial Delay

A judge on Wednesday denied a request from former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky to delay the June 5 start of his child sex-abuse trial.

Judge John Cleland said no trial date is perfect but that "some dates are better than others," aid he would not give defense attorney Joe Amendola more time to prepare his defense.

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Local
7:15 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Organization Names Bayer Sign Best Historic Preservation Opportunity

A local group has deemed the rusting Bayer sign that clings to the side of Mt. Washington as the city's best historic preservation opportunity. The word "Pittsburgh" in its stylized white-on-white letters can barely be seen after years of neglect.

Since 2003, the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh (YPA) has been creating a list of the "Ten Best Historic Preservation Opportunities." YPA's Chief Executive Officer, Dan Holland, said the 226 × 30' sign does not represent Pittsburgh properly.

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Environment
6:48 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Community and Environmental Groups to Sue FirstEnergy Over Coal Ash Pollution

The Little Blue Regional Action Group, along with attorneys from the Environmental Integrity Project and Public Justice, are taking on the nation's largest coal ash dump site. In a notice of intent to sue (NOI), the groups allege FirstEnergy's Little Blue Run coal ash impoundment is in violation of numerous state and federal laws. Part of the impoundment near FirstEnergy's Bruce Mansfield plant is in West Virginia; the other part is in Pennsylvania.

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Local
5:00 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Thomas Merton Center Recognizes Occupy Pittsburgh

The Thomas Merton Center has chosen a group with no centralized control to be honored with its annual New Person Award. Occupy Pittsburgh Thursday will be given the award Thursday evening at 7:00 PM in the social hall of the East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

Merton Center Managing Director Diane McMahon said the award goes to a local activist or group that has a significant impact in creating a more peaceful and just world.

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Economy
4:02 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Report: PA Investing in Facilities, Jobs

A report looking at major investment projects around the country shows that companies are ramping up investment in new facilities and jobs and Pennsylvania is among the top destinations for that investment. The 2012 US Investment Monitor by Ernst & Young LLP examined five thousand business investments and more than 336,000 jobs created in 2011.

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Health
2:30 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Study: Teen Athletes Underestimating Non-Physical Concussion Ailments

Teenage athletes disproportionately estimate their recovery from concussions on physical symptoms like headache and nausea, according to a new study from UPMC.

The UPMC Center for Sports Medicine Concussion Program studied 101 concussed teen athletes to find that they often overlook non-physical symptoms like emotional distress, sleep problems, and difficulty in concentration when they are gauging their recoveries.

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Local
2:21 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Violence Prevention “Think Group” to Gather in Pittsburgh

A citywide "think group" is being convened as part of an effort to reduce community violence. The group will look at violence prevention programs from around the country to determine which aspects of them work and in what situations they perform best.

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health's Center for Health Equity will guide the effort. One Vision One Life executive director Richard Garland has been selected to head the program as an independent consultant. Garland said the group would be modeled after other organizations across the nation.

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Government
9:47 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Struggle for County Weights & Measures Office Continues

It seems Allegheny County Council is the rope in a political tug-of-war between the County Executive and the County Controller. A pending Council vote will determine which office will have command of the county's Weights & Measures Division.

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Local
7:15 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Concussion Management Focus of Statewide Conference

More than 100 coaches, athletic directors, teachers, administrators and others gathered in Pittsburgh and locations throughout the state Tuesday to learn more about the effects of concussions on students' health and academic success. Those in other areas were participating via video conferencing in the first-of-its-kind student athlete concussion management conference.

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